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New York City's recent LL84 Amendment lowers mandatory benchmarking and audit to 25,000 Gross SF from 50,000 Gross SF

October 13, 2016

On October 13, 2016, the New York City Council approved an important amendment to Local Law 84, another solid step towards Mayor de Blasio’s ardent quest for New York City to emerge as the global leader in sustainability and resiliency - keeping the promises outlined in One City, Built to Last Plan developed by the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability and the Greater, Greener Buildings Plan

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The amendments, Int. No. 1163A, was drafted by committees chaired by Councilman Garodnick  and guided through by Speaker of the New York City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council members Richards, Johnson, Constantinides, Chin, Rosenthal, Kalos and Barron (in conjunction with the Mayor).

 

We can expect greater calls for stronger standards and reporting requirements in the months and years ahead.  All required for New York City to catch up with global applications. New York City was ranked the 20th of the leading sustainable cities globally, and third behind Boston and Chicago in the United States according to the 2015 Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index.

 

The Amendment: Updates to Local Law 84 will impact two categories identified as City Buildings & Covered Buildings

CITY BUILDING. A building that is more than 10,000 gross square feet, as it appears in the records of the department of finance, that is owned by the city or for which the city regularly directly pays all [or part] of the annual energy bills, provided that two or more buildings on the same tax lot shall be deemed to be one building.

 

COVERED BUILDING. As it appears in the records of the department of finance (i) a building that exceeds [50,000] 25,000 gross square feet, (ii) two or more buildings on the same tax lot that together exceed 100,000 gross square feet, [or] (iii) two or more buildings held in the condominium form of ownership that are governed by the same board of managers and that together exceed 100,000 gross square feet, or (iv) a city building.

 

The amendment to Local Law 84, lowers the requirement for mandatory benchmarking from 50,000 square feet to 25,000 square feet.  However, there are exceptions.  This new legislation will greatly impact a key segment of New York City's building stock.  Importantly, building owners, developers, engineers, architects and related professionals will be required to be up to speed reporting deadlines, and a set of new guidelines.

New Language and Reporting Requirements: Aside from lowering the square footage, the amendment has a wealth of exceptions and reporting guidelines which will put more teeth into Local Law 84.  GBW feels that these are necessary and solid steps toward collaboration and transparency.  

 

New York City’s Climate Targets: A Roadmap for New York City’s Buildings, the One City Built to Last Plan outlined a pathway to 80 by 50, we will need to reduce GHG emissions from the energy used to heat, cool, and power our buildings by 30 percent from 2005 levels over the next decade. City government can lead the way, and will commit to achieving a 35 percent reduction in emissions in the next ten years.

 

Background: The One City Built to Last plan set out to achieve these goals by 2025

  • Complete efficiency improvements in every City-owned building that has significant energy use and install 100 MW of onsite renewable power. 

  • Implement leading edge performance standards for new construction that cost- effectively achieve highly efficient buildings, looking to Passive House, carbon neutral, or “zero net energy” strategies to inform the standards. 

  • Develop interim energy performance targets for existing buildings to be met through both voluntary reductions and new regulations, such as performance standards and measure-based mandates, which would be triggered if adequate reductions are not achieved. 

 

The plan is deployed under One City, Built to Last, a long-term scheme to improve the energy efficiency of NYC buildings and to adapt to more renewable energy sources. Buildings contribute to three-quarters of the total emissions in the city every year.

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Council member Daniel Garodnick remarked, “the city and building owners are natural partners in energy efficiency."                                                   

New York City's recent LL88 Amendment lowers SF required to Mandate   installation of sub meters and upgrade of lighting to 25,000 

October 13, 2016

On October 13, 2016, the New York City Council approved two (2) important amendments to Local Law 88, solid steps towards Mayor de Blasio’s ardent quest for New York City to emerge as the global leader in sustainability and resiliency - keeping the promises outlined in One City, Built to Last Plan developed by the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability.  

 

The amendments: Approved in Council on October 13, 2016

Int. No. 1160 was drafted in committee by Council member Costa G. Constantinides (in conjunction with the Mayor), to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to the installation of sub-meters in certain tenant spaces

 

Int. No. 1165 was drafted in committee by Council member Donovan J. Richards (in conjunction with the Mayor), to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to upgrading lighting systems in certain buildings

We can expect greater calls for stronger standards and reporting requirements in the months and years ahead.  All required for New York City to catch up with global applications. New York City was ranked the 20th of the leading sustainable cities globally, and third behind Boston and Chicago in the United States according to the 2015 Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index.

 

The Amendments: Updates to Local Law 88

Submetering:  This bill expands the sub metering requirements to owners of buildings 25,000 gross square feet or larger.  Prior, Owners of building 50,000 gross square feet or larger were required to upgrade the lighting systems in their buildings so that they are in compliance with the standards for new systems set forth in the New York city energy conservation code.

Lighting: This bill expands the lighting upgrade requirements to owners of buildings 25,000 gross square feet or larger.  Prior, Owners of building 50,000 gross square feet or larger were required to upgrade the lighting systems in their buildings so that they are in compliance with the standards for new systems set forth in the New York city energy conservation code.

New Language and Reporting Requirements are laid out in both amendments.

 

New York City’s Climate Targets: A Roadmap for New York City’s Buildings, the One City Built to Last Plan outlined a pathway to 80 by 50, we will need to reduce GHG emissions from the energy used to heat, cool, and power our buildings by 30 percent from 2005 levels over the next decade. City government can lead the way, and will commit to achieving a 35 percent reduction in emissions in the next ten years.

 

Background: The One City Built to Last plan set out to achieve these goals by 2025

  • Complete efficiency improvements in every City-owned building that has significant energy use and install 100 MW of onsite renewable power. 

  • Implement leading edge performance standards for new construction that cost- effectively achieve highly efficient buildings, looking to Passive House, carbon neutral, or “zero net energy” strategies to inform the standards. 

  • Develop interim energy performance targets for existing buildings to be met through both voluntary reductions and new regulations, such as performance standards and measure-based mandates, which would be triggered if adequate reductions are not achieved. 

 

The plan is deployed under One City, Built to Last, a long-term scheme to improve the energy efficiency of NYC buildings and to adapt to more renewable energy sources. Buildings contribute to three-quarters of the total emissions in the city every year.

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Council member Constantinides remarked, “seventy percent of carbon emissions come from buildings, this legislation requiring sub meters in certain tenant spaces will place the city closer to its goal to meet 2025 targets."  

New York City's Local Law 91: Conforms to NYS Energy Conservation Code while addressing uniqueness in NYC's Construction

October 13, 2016

In August of 2016, the New York City Council approved Local Law 91.  The purpose of this local law is to conform the New York City Energy Conservation Code to recent changes in the New York State Energy Code with the law amendments unique to construction in the City.

 

The amendment, Int. No. 1169A, were drafted by committee chaired Council Member Jumaane D. Williams.

A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to conforming the New York City energy conservation code to the New York State energy code with amendments unique to construction in the city and repealing section 28-1001.2 in relation thereto

 

We can expect greater calls for stronger standards and reporting requirements in the months and years ahead.  All required for New York City to catch up with global applications. New York City was ranked the 20th of the leading sustainable cities globally, and third behind Boston and Chicago in the United States according to the 2015 Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index.

Statement of findings and purpose.

The New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code (the “New York State Energy Code”) is promulgated by the State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council pursuant to Article 11 of the New York State Energy Law.  In accordance with Article 11, the New York City Energy Conservation Code is stricter than the New York State Energy Code.  The purpose of this local law is to conform the New York City Energy Conservation Code to recent changes in the New York State Energy Code with local law amendments unique to construction in the City.

 

INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT:

The New York City Energy Conservation Code (“NYCECC”) is comprised of the New York State Energy Code (“NYSEC”) with amendments as enacted into law by the New York City Council.

 

The NYCECC is divided into provisions relevant to commercial buildings and provisions relevant to residential buildings as follows:

 

1.  The provisions of the NYCECC for commercial buildings are reflected in the state publications incorporated by reference in 19 NYCRR section 1240.4, as amended by sections 28-1001.2.1and 28-1001.2.2 of the Administrative Code of the city of New York.  Such state  publications include (i) Chapters 1 [CE], 2 [CE], 3 [CE], 4 [CE], 5 [CE] and 6 [CE] of the 2015 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (the “2015 IECC”), as amended by Part 1 of the publication entitled the 2016 Supplement to the New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code (the “2016 Energy Code Supplement”) (ii) the July 2014 edition of Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings (“ASHRAE 90.1-2013”), as amended by Part 2 of the 2016 Energy Code Supplement; and (iii) reference standards incorporated by reference in 19 NYCRR section 1240.4(c).

 

2.  The provisions of the NYCECC for residential buildings are reflected in the state publications incorporated by reference in 19 NYCRR section 1240.5, as amended by sections 28-1001.2.1 and 28-1001.2.2 of the Administrative Code of the city of New York.  Such state publications include (i) Chapters 1 [RE], 2 [RE], 3 [RE], 4 [RE], 5 [RE] and 6 [RE] of the 2015 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (the “2015 IECC”), as amended by Part 3 of the publication entitled the 2016 Supplement to the New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code (the “2016 Energy Code Supplement”); and (ii) the referenced standards incorporated by reference in 19 NYCRR section 1240.5(b), as amended by Part 3 of the 2016 Energy Code Supplement.

 

New York City’s Climate Targets: A Roadmap for New York City’s Buildings, the One City Built to Last Plan outlined a pathway to 80 by 50, we will need to reduce GHG emissions from the energy used to heat, cool, and power our buildings by 30 percent from 2005 levels over the next decade. City government can lead the way, and will commit to achieving a 35 percent reduction in emissions in the next ten years.

 

Background: The One City Built to Last plan set out to achieve these goals by 2025

  • Complete efficiency improvements in every City-owned building that has significant energy use and install 100 MW of onsite renewable power. 

  • Implement leading edge performance standards for new construction that cost- effectively achieve highly efficient buildings, looking to Passive House, carbon neutral, or “zero net energy” strategies to inform the standards. 

  • Develop interim energy performance targets for existing buildings to be met through both voluntary reductions and new regulations, such as performance standards and measure-based mandates, which would be triggered if adequate reductions are not achieved. 

 

The plan is deployed under One City, Built to Last, a long-term scheme to improve the energy efficiency of NYC buildings and to adapt to more renewable energy sources. Buildings contribute to three-quarters of the total emissions in the city every year.

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New York City's recent LL86 Amendments are Game Changers for the City's Capital Projects.

April 13, 2016

In March of 2016, the New York City Council approved two (2) important amendments to Local Law 86, a solid step towards Mayor de Blasio’s ardent quest for New York City to emerge as the global leader in sustainability and resiliency - keeping the promises outlined in One City, Built to Last Plan developed by the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability.  

 

The amendments, Int. Nos. 701A and Int. 721A, were drafted by committees chaired and guided through by Speaker of the New York City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council member Jumaane D. Williams respectively.

 

We can expect greater calls for stronger standards and reporting requirements in the months and years ahead.  All required for New York City to catch up with global applications. New York City was ranked the 20th of the leading sustainable cities globally, and third behind Boston and Chicago in the United States according to the 2015 Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index.

 

The Amendments: Updates to Local Law 86 & the Segments Impacted

The Standards for Sustainable Building and Design was updated and strengthened as the NYC Council voted a resounding YES for two (2) amendments to LL86.  The requirements of Local Law 86 can apply to projects where construction is managed through city agencies as well as to projects where construction is managed through non-city entities, such as cultural organizations, state agencies, and private developers.  The trigger for LL86 is city funding.

 

New Language and Reporting Requirements: Call for Low Energy Intensity Buildings

This bill would require city-owned buildings to be designed and constructed as low energy intensity buildings.

 

  • As targeted, for the first time Passivehaus ( a.k.a Passive House) was specifically written into Law

  • The amendments review and strengthen the reporting requirements

  • The amendment will effect City subsidized or capital projects which involve the construction of a new building in addition to an existing building or the substantial reconstruction of an existing building

  • Agencies responsible for project design would be required to consider the feasibility of designing and constructing certain capital projects as on site energy generating buildings

  • The Mayor will be required to create a plan by for ensuring that by 2030 all capital projects that will be subject to the requirements of this bill will be designed and constructed to have the same energy use intensity as buildings designed and constructed to Passive building standards

  • The new amendments upped the required acceptable base standard to LEED version 4 rating of Gold which includes some of the Passivehaus standards

  • The amendment affords the Mayor the ability to establish alternative building standards that are in the public interest providing that the certification is as or more stringent than LEED Certified and provided that where alternative standards are least stringent the Mayor of such agency reports the reason such alternative standards are necessary.

 

The bill would require the Mayor to produce an annual report with information about capital projects subject to this bill’s design and construction requirements. The Mayor would also be required to produce a triennial report containing recommended practices for designing and constructing low energy intensity buildings.

 

New York City’s Climate Targets: A Roadmap for New York City’s Buildings, the One City Built to Last Plan outlined a pathway to 80 by 50, we will need to reduce GHG emissions from the energy used to heat, cool, and power our buildings by 30 percent from 2005 levels over the next decade. City government can lead the way, and will commit to achieving a 35 percent reduction in emissions in the next ten years.

 

Background: The One City Built to Last plan set out to achieve these goals by 2025

  • Complete efficiency improvements in every City-owned building that has significant energy use and install 100 MW of onsite renewable power. 

  • Implement leading edge performance standards for new construction that cost- effectively achieve highly efficient buildings, looking to Passive House, carbon neutral, or “zero net energy” strategies to inform the standards. 

  • Develop interim energy performance targets for existing buildings to be met through both voluntary reductions and new regulations, such as performance standards and measure-based mandates, which would be triggered if adequate reductions are not achieved. 

 

The plan is deployed under One City, Built to Last, a long-term scheme to improve the energy efficiency of NYC buildings and to adapt to more renewable energy sources. Buildings contribute to three-quarters of the total emissions in the city every year.

 

Building Standards: Critical Tools in the Pathway to Sustainable Building & Design

The term Passivehaus refers to a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, reducing its ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling.  Passivehaus has had a slow movement in the United States of America, but is now picking up speed. 

 

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an ecology-oriented building certification program run under the auspices of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).  LEED is a widely adopted methodology in the United States.

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Council member Jumaane D. Williams remarked, “the amount of new construction in New York City continues to increase and we have an obligation to ensure that new buildings constructed by the city have a minimum impact on the environment.”           

What is the Clean Power Plan’s projected impact on the  Northeast region?

October 15, 2015

 Green Building Worldwide has been committed to the study and analysis of the sustainability, resilience and climate change area for the last half decade and will continue to do so by reporting the latest developments regarding the CPP and the impact that this plan will have on the U.S.’ Northeastern region.

The CPP is a program designed to bring clean power to communities across the U.S., create jobs, reduce electricity bills for households and businesses and protect and improve public health (White House 2015). The principal goal that has been outlined by this plan is the one of increasing the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions with special focus on CO2 emissions directly from existing generation sources (EPA 2015).  In order to properly understand the impact that the CPP will have on the Northeast region, it is fundamental to examine the foundation of this strategy: the Best System of Emissions Reduction (BSER). This report will therefore firstly examine the BSER’s pillars since these will determine the strategies that states will use in their compliance plans.

 

This report will then advance in perspective to assess both the possible issues and benefits that will be brought up by this strategy, which will in turn determine the impact that the CPP will have on the Northeast region. In other words, this report will draw from the criticism, compliance and acceptance that the CPP has received since it was released last August to assess and determine a) the Northeast capacity and preparedness to comply with CPP’s targets and b) whether this plan will have a positive or negative effect in this region.

The CPP is primarily composed of the ‘Best System of Emission Reduction’ (BSER), a mechanism divided into four strategies designed to provide states and businesses with flexible and diverse strategies that these can pick and choose from to better suit their context (see Figure. 1) (White House 2015). The BSER mechanism will enable states to successfully meet the goals assigned to them by the CPP due to the flexibility and adaptability that this strategy offers. The BSER’s main point of focus is to inform the stakeholders affected by this plan about the economic benefits that the implementation of CPP’s strategies and goals will bring to fruition, which will largely be a factor of this strategy’s specialized modus operandi. The BSER has outlined four mechanisms of action that states and businesses can use in their plans of action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The BSER strategy provides stakeholders with the freedom to build from, alter or change these mechanisms to better fit their context, which will in turn make these stakeholders more likely to reach their targets (MacCracken et al. 2015). 

The first mechanism is the one of heat rate improvement, which is designed to reduce the emission rates of coal generation facilities. This mechanism is intended to mandate utility companies to produce energy at lower CO2 emission rates, which can be achieved through the implementation of energy efficiency strategies at these companies’ operational facilities. The second mechanism has to do with fuel switching, or system redispatch from coal to natural gas. If states decide to utilize this strategy they will have to make sure that their primary utility companies provide businesses and households with the option to shift their energy source from coal to natural gas but more importantly states will have to ensure that natural gas is posed as an attractive and inexpensive alternative to coal to the general population. The third mechanism devised by the BSER is related to the goal of increasing generation from renewable sources and preserving generation from nuclear units. This mechanism relates to two of the CPP’s primary targets: the target to displace coal and oil power plants and to stimulate the growth and expansion of green power plants to the point where these become America’s main source of (non­-emitting) energy. 

 

Lastly, the BSER has outlined the importance for states to encourage and incentivize the growth of the energy efficiency industry in order to displace polluting energy generation sources. The CPP will strive to make states follow and continue the example that large cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago have set in  increasing the energy efficiency of its built structures in inner and suburban areas.

 

The publication of the CPP was met in the Northeastern region of the United States with mixed responses ranging from compliant to highly critical when it was released this past August (AEE 2015). This is because while the Northeastern region received less severe reduction targets than for instance its southern counterparts, mainly due to the consistent and extensive efforts that this region has made to reduce its emissions for the last decade, the specific strategies that were assigned to the Northeast for the reduction of its CO2 emissions have the potential to negatively affect different types of  stakeholders such as the general public, utility companies and the corporate sector (NAERC 2015). The criticism that the CPP received was mainly related to concerns that different stakeholders have about potential increases in energy prices, the possible displacement of nuclear plants and this strategy’s capacity to provide America with sufficient infrastructure and appropriate grid reliability to meet future energy demands (AEE 2015; NAERC 2015). Reports from America’s Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), the NERA Economic Consulting and America’s Coalition for Clean Coal energy claim that the CPP will undermine Americans’ access to affordable power and will cause electricity prices to increase dramatically (ACCCE 2015; NERC 2015). More specifically these two sources claim that consumers will have to bear the rising costs of electricity, which could potentially double in 43 states. Nonetheless, projections from a recent report produced by the ICF suggest that the shift in future energy prices depends on the approach that states adopt, which can lead to the increase or decrease of electricity prices (McCracken et al. 2015). Moreover, this report advanced in perspective to explain that the most favorable scenario in terms of energy prices for different states would be one that supports and incentivizes different types of energy production (i.e. wind, solar, natural gas, etc) in order to prevent scenarios in which rising energy demands put excessive pressure on one particular energy sector and lead to volatility in energy prices (McCracken et al. 2015).

 

Critics of the CPP have also accused this plan to be biased against nuclear power plants, which make up almost two thirds of zero-carbon electricity (Nuclear Energy Institute 2015). This is because while the CPP will provide limited incentives assigned exclusively to new power plants, it will provide extensive support and funding to the development and expansion of green technologies (Bracewell and Giulianni 2015). Therefore, this decision has the potential to increase the competitiveness of other green technologies, which could in turn have a negative effect on the nuclear power industry (AEE Institute 2015).

 

Reports like the one produced by NERC and the AEE have also claimed that the CPP fails to a) identify both the geographic areas where there’s a need for the introduction and expansion of green energy infrastructure and the strategies that these areas can potentially use to accelerate the expansion of their green energy network and b) to outline in a detailed manner how the CPP will ensure future grid reliability (NERC 2015; AEE 2015). However, the Advanced Energy Association (AEE), the DoE (Department of Energy) and the EPA have claimed that while it is important for Northeastern states to continue to stimulate the growth and expansion of the green energy sector, both the advancements made in this area by the Northeastern Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and the extensive investment that has been directed towards the natural gas industry for the last decade have placed the Northeastern region on the right track to provide its population with the appropriate infrastructure and grid reliability that is needed to meet future energy demands. Similarly, several mainstream newspapers like the New York Times and organizations such as the American Energy Efficiency Agency, American Wind Energy Organization, North American Electric Reliability Corporation and the Union of Concerned Scientists among others have released writing pieces that offered a positive outlook that outlined the benefits that will be brought up by the CPP in the Northeastern region (AEE 2015; AWEO 2015; NERC 2015; UCS 2015). The Northeastern region will draw from the progress that has been achieved by the RGGI for the past decade, a period in which this organization has managed to reduce this area’s greenhouse gas emissions, accelerate the process of introducing and expanding the green energy sector and increase green technologies accessibility to the wider population and to low-income households (RGGI 2015a). In other words the significant progress that has been made in the Northeastern region for the past few years will enable this area to meet the goals set by the CPP (RGGI 2015b; RGGI 2015c). This is because over the last decade the RGGI has raised over $900 million dollars from auction proceeds that have been invested in hundreds of green projects (including energy efficiency, clean and renewable energy, greenhouse gas abatement programs) aimed at reducing this area’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions (see Figure 2).

It is these projects that will serve as the foundation and lead the way for future green programs, which will strive to cut greenhouse gas emissions directly from power plants, result in the proliferation of the energy efficiency sector in urban and rural areas, stimulate the growth and expansion of green technologies, lead to the displacement of oil and coal power plants and more importantly lead to economic growth of the Northeastern economy (see Figure 3) (RGGI 2015d). Moreover, this initiative has strived to support vulnerable and low-income communities within the Northeastern region. This initiative has done so by increasing these communities’ access to energy efficiency strategies and renewable energy technologies such as solar panels and by implementing energy-saving measures that resulted in direct environmental, health and economic benefits such as the reduction of  impoverished families’ energy bills) (RGGI 2015a; RGGI 2015b)

In conclusion this report examined the BSER’s pillars to determine what will be the strategies that states will use in their compliance plans. This report then assessed both the possible issues and benefits that will be brought up by this strategy and that will in turn determine the impact that the CPP will have on the Northeast region. In other words, this report drew from the criticism, compliance and acceptance that the CPP has received since it was released last August to assess and determine a) the Northeast capacity and preparedness to comply with CPP’s targets and b) whether this plan will have a positive or negative effect in this region. Lastly, this report concluded that while the Northeastern region needs to produce compliance plans that address issues of grid reliability and energy infrastructure, the significant achievements and progress made by the RGGI will facilitate this regions future efforts to meet their respective CPP’s targets. Moreover, reports produced by the RGGI have also shown that contrary to the widespread opinion shared by several research institutes and mass media the CPP can build from the progress made by the RGGI, which has led to the growth of the Northeastern community and to the financial support and empowerment of low-income and vulnerable communities.

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